Canadians forced to miss work because of COVID19 can start applying for financial support from the federal government today. The new benefits have been highly anticipated as Canadians face increasing uncertainty due to a surge in new COVID19 cases heading into the fall and winter. The new caregiver benefit provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks to households where one person has to miss more than half a week of work because they have to care for someone. That includes situations in which a child or other dependent has either caught COVID19 and can’t go to school or daycare, or in which schools, daycares or day programs and facilities are closed because of the illness. Canadians will also be able to start applying for a new sick-leave benefit that will pay up to $1,000 for those forced to stay home because they have become infected or have to isolate because of the illness. A third program replacing the $500-per-week Canada Emergency Response Benefit that has formed the main support program for Canadians unable to work due to COVID19 will become available next week.
Walk-In COVID19 Testing is on Pause For Today While Labs Catch Up:
Those hoping to get tested for COVID19 at an assessment centre today are out of luck. The province has paused walk-in testing at the centres yesterday so it can catch up on a backlog of 79,000 untested swabs. And when the centres reopen tomorrow, tests will be by appointment only. They’ll also be limited to those exhibiting symptoms. At least 60 pharmacies across the province are offering evaluation for asymptomatic people, also by appointment.
As of Oct 6, Ontario #COVID19 assessment centres will transition to appointment-based testing to provide certainty to patients as to when they can receive a test during the cold winter months. On Oct 4 walk-in testing services will be discontinued. https://t.co/VcGLEWF92G pic.twitter.com/09GDJLjjri
— ONTHealth (@ONThealth) October 2, 2020
This weekend Ontario reported 1,219 new COVID19 cases. 566 of those were confirmed yesterday. 196 of the new cases were in Toronto, 123 in Peel and 81 in Ottawa. Across the province 159 people are hospitalized. 43 are in the ICU with 25 of those on a ventilator.
Ontario is reporting 566 cases of #COVID19 as nearly 39,700 were completed. Locally, there are 196 new cases in Toronto, 123 in Peel and 81 in Ottawa. 62% of today’s cases are in people under the age of 40. There are 534 more resolved cases.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) October 4, 2020
Ontario and Quebec Leading the Nation in New COVID19 Cases:
Canada’s two most populated provinces reported a combined 1,645 new cases of COVID19 yesterday, along with 19 additional deaths related to the virus. At 1,079, Quebec had nearly double the 566 cases reported by Ontario. It was the third day in a row Quebec recorded more than one thousand new cases in a 24-hour period.
Dr Tam Warns About Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and Canada’s top doctor is hoping people plan ahead to make sure this year’s holiday is safe during the COVID19 pandemic. Dr. Theresa Tam is advising that any family gathering indoor should be kept small — particularly in the country’s hot spots, such as urban centres in Quebec and Ontario. She says, “better yet,” Canadians could opt for virtual Thanksgiving dinners instead of making the trip to a relative’s home.
#Thanksgiving planning? Think about ways you can protect loved ones while finding creative way to connect with safe #PhysicalDistancing apart from anyone outside your existing, trusted & protected #ContactBubble.
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) October 4, 2020
Dr Tam Warns the Chance to Stop a Second Wave is Narrowing:
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam is warning the chance to avert a COVID19 comeback is narrowing by the day. Tam issued a statement on the weekend in the face of rising case numbers in Quebec and Ontario. She says it’s clear that unless everyone makes hard choices now to reduce their in-person contacts and maintain layers of personal protections, it won’t be enough to prevent a large resurgence.
Toronto Public Health Has Changed Their Contact Tracing Strategy:
A spokeswoman says there are now so many cases of COVID19 that Toronto Public Health can’t keep up with contact-tracing for all of them. Lenore Bromley says the public health agency has made a strategic shift in contact tracing. Before, contact tracers would try to reach out to everybody who was in contact with a COVID19 patient. Now, she says, they’re only reaching out to those who are high risk, because that’s all they have the capacity for. On Saturday, Toronto accounted for 284 of the 653 new COVID-19 cases reported across the province.
As of 2 pm on Oct. 3 there have been 20,662 #COVID19 cases in TO (235 new since Oct. 2), 78 people are in hospital (6 new), 1,302 deaths (2 new) & 17,028 people recovered (198 new). Today's totals include 1 death added due to data cleaning. More info: https://t.co/iWSQe4K5Rv pic.twitter.com/DebEc41pDb
— Toronto Public Health (@TOPublicHealth) October 4, 2020
The GTHL Has Cancelled the Rest of the Season:
The Greater Toronto Hockey League has suspended its activities for the rest of the year due to the spike in COVID19 cases in the region. The youth hockey league says it’s acting on the advice of Toronto’s medical officer of health, who’s been pushing the provincial government to take stronger action to curb the spread of the virus. Dr. Eileen de Villa has called on the province to prohibit all indoor sporting activities, among other measures. Ontario has tightened some public health restrictions as COVID19 case counts rise to levels not seen since the spring, but de Villa says more forceful action is necessary to bring the numbers under control.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Wants Bars & Restaurants to Turn it Down:
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says bars and restaurants should turn down the music volume so people don’t have to shout, or get closer to hear each other. The office says, “Higher volumes of ambient noise, such as music, force patrons and staff to raise their voices or lean closer to hear. Raising your voice may send more of the COVID19 virus into the air infecting those around you.” They added, “With cases rising in our region and across the province, we need to pull out all the stops to reduce the spread of COVID-19,”
An Optimistic Outlook from the Retail Council of Canada:
We are still almost four weeks away from Halloween and retailers are already looking to get people shopping for Christmas. Some are already rolling out holiday merchandise while others are stepping up their e-commerce game and convincing consumers to buy gifts for far-flung friends and family. The Retail Council of Canada says consumers may have more spending money this year due to pandemic travel restrictions and working from home, but fewer store visits and fewer family gatherings could translate into lower store sales and revenue.
Halloween is not cancelled but will be different this year. Parents across Canada are already thinking about Halloween, with a new survey by RCC indicating that 8 in 10 parents plan on celebrating in some way. https://t.co/Gt7INlTdxe #Halloween pic.twitter.com/FuPfirQWpM
— RCC (@RetailCouncil) October 2, 2020
Manitoba May Change the Messaging:
As Canada moves into the second wave of the COVID19 pandemic, Manitoba’s chief public health officer says a lot has been learned since the virus first arrived. But Doctor Brent Roussin says people need to realize, even through they want black-or-white messaging, there are a lot of grey areas. He’s hinting at some new messaging for fighting COVID19, as the number of young people infected continues to grow. Roussin says even if younger people tend to suffer milder effects, they can still infect other people who are more vulnerable.
Two New Infections in PEI:
Canada’s island province is reporting two new cases of COVID19 infections. PEI’s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, says one of the men is in his 20s and the other is in his 50s. Both individuals contracted the virus while travelling outside the region and have been in self-isolation since arriving in the province. Prince Edward Island now has three active cases.
Is New York About to Shut Down Again?
New York City’s mayor is asking the state for permission to close schools and reinstate restrictions on non-essential businesses in several neighbourhoods because of a resurgence of the novel coronavirus. Mayor Bill de Blasio says about 300 public and private schools would have to close. Meanwhile, indoor dining, which just resumed a few days ago, would again be suspended.
Today I’m announcing a proposal to close ALL schools and nonessential businesses in these zip codes on Wednesday, October 7.
The affected zip codes are 11691, 11219, 11223, 11230, 11204, 11210, 11229, 11415 and 11367.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) October 4, 2020
The European Commissioner is in Isolation:
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is in isolation after coming in contact with a person infected with COVID19 at a meeting last Tuesday. Von der Leyen says she tested negative for the virus on Thursday and will undergo another test later today. Still, she decided it was better to be safe than sorry and will remain in quarantine in Brussels until Tuesday morning.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Yesterday Region of Waterloo Public Health reported 13 new COVID19 cases. However there were a lot of recovered patients so the number of active cases has dropped to 153. Currently there are 4 active outbreaks in the Region with 2 being treated in area hospitals. On Friday Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph announced 8 new cases. They are up to 58 active cases with 1 person being treated at Guelph General.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Office of the Prime Minister via YouTube screenshot